Google has certified its first consumer grade camera for its Street View Ready programme. Chinese manufacturer Insta360 announced that its Pro 360-degree camera was the first to receive this designation; allowing users to capture and upload images for use in Google’s Street View.
The Street View Ready programme was announced in May, where Google said it would be allowing people to contribute their own content to the mapping service. This doesn’t exactly mean that Google will no longer use its own Street View cars to chart the roads. Rather, it’s design is to allow for coverage in places where Google cannot normally get into.
For the most part, Street View Ready is divided into four categories: mobile, auto, VR, and workflow. The Insta360 Pro is the first in the “auto” category. Meaning that Google believes it will do fine if mounted to the top of a car and driven around town. Not that anyone is recommending this being done.
The Insta360 Pro can also be controlled from the Street View app, reducing the necessity of someone sitting on top of the car with the camera. The images can then be directly uploaded to Street View for processing and stitching. That said, it could take a couple of weeks before the user generated content is made available for public viewing.
While this sounds like a great way for the public to contribute to Street View, there is a catch. The Insta360 Pro costs an impressive $3499 (about RM14800). This price tag allows it to shoot with in 5 fps 8K; which is supposedly suitable for Street View photography. Those that can’t afford the camera can also look to Google, which is adding 50 of the units to its Street View camera loan programme.